Link Posted 21/02/2012 - 22:54
Finally got the guts to put some money into a decent camera. Thought of getting a K5 but then realized I will look stupid with it as I don't know how to use it, so settled on an excellent example of K20D. I'm pretty satisfied with it, however the kit lens that I got with it is really slow and coupled with K20D makes shooting quite a task during shadier times, though I think 90% of that is my own fault not the equipment.
As I'm on far poor side and cannot afford the praised DA or FA lenses nor even F, I was wondering if the old fish here could suggest me some cheaper alternatives as I'm a complete novice and doubt I will need that 1% extra sharpness for extra few hundred quid. My budget? I would like to stay below 150 for the lenses in total for 2-3 lenses. Sleepless nights around the forums have boiled my choices down to:

1. Pentax SMC M 50mm f1.7
2. Pentax SMC M 50mm f1.4
3. Pentax SMC M 55mm f1.8
3. Pentax SMC DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6
4. TOKINA SD MC 70-210MM F4-5.6

About the Pentax M lenses, is it worth to invest the extra 40 into an A lens instead of the M?

As majority of those are manual lenses and by the looks of it the split-prism focus screen makes life easier, how useful is it in real life?

Are there any good other equipment I could get for relatively low budget or equipment I should stay away from? Aka M42 lenses? And what is the story with lenses with a bit of fungus? Should I steer away from them or look at them as a good cheap alternative?

Pentax K-5 and co.
Last Edited by Aleks1298 on 21/02/2012 - 22:55


Link Posted 21/02/2012 - 23:07
Lots of questions in one forum post! The answers depend to a great extent on your own preferences / budget but I will have a go! I'm sure others more knowledgeable than me can give better advice.

- The 'A' lenses would be preferable if you can afford to stretch to them - they are also more saleable if you ever want to sell them on

- Have you considered the more modern Pentax DA L lenses (plastic mount)? These are very reasonable second hand and optically are identical to their DA counterparts. More modern lenses = better colour, contrast and sharpness, especially for zooms

- Manual focus depends on how good your eyesight / dioptre adjustment is. I have no problems focussing on my K-x or K-5 without a split screen as long as light is reasonable

- Don't buy lenses with fungus unless you are prepared to strip them down and re-assemble (if so, be prepared to ruin a few)

- Some of the M42's are great - I particularly love the SMC Takumars, but they don't get as much use as my more modern lenses as they are not as flexible

Hope this helps.

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Link Posted 21/02/2012 - 23:12
I would recommend the new Pentax DA35 f2.4, which is not as fast as the 50s you mention, but more flexible with its wider angle. Available for 125.00 or less.

Later this year Pentax will be launching a new 50mm which will probably be around the same price.

The 50-200mm you mention is pretty slow. I haven't owned it, and my impression is that it's 'OK-ish'. I have the Pentax F70-210mm which is pretty good, and the 75-150mm f4 which is outstanding and only costs about 30 quid. It's an M lens, I tend to shoot it wide-open at f4 in aperture priority mode. Stopping down via the green button is no big deal for me though.


Link Posted 21/02/2012 - 23:35
I personally find the 18-55 kit lens to be a very capable performer. I am quite happy to use it to produce A3 prints. I do not find it sluggish.

The Pentax 50 to 200 is a fair performer and is a really good travel lens.

If you buy the M series lenses you will need to set up the use of the aperture ring, in the camera custom menu. You will also have to use the manual settings for shutter speed on camera and aperture on the lens ring.
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Link Posted 21/02/2012 - 23:50
Beware of the well-known and much documented issue with stop-down metering on the K10D and K20D which will make anything other than manual use of M lenses quite annoying at times.

They're optically excellent and cheap, so may well suit, but getting the exposure right will be a lot more effort.

For that reason alone, the A-series equivalents may be well worth the extra if you want to take advantage of fully automated exposure modes.
Pentax K-3, DA18-135, DA35 F2.4, DA17-70, DA55-300, FA28-200, A50 F1.7, A100 F4 Macro, A400 F5.6, Sigma 10-20 EXDC, 50-500 F4.5-6.3 APO DG OS Samsung flash SEF-54PZF(x2)


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 01:14
okay, as I understand that it will be a good idea to invest the extra 40 into the A lens rather than M. I still gotta think about the primes, I think will wait til the new 50mm comes out to see what that has to offer.

However I still don't understand how comes the DA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 is slow but TOKINA SD MC 70-210MM F4-5.6 is fine? The 75-150 sounds very very interesting, but above mentioned metering issues are putting me away from it.

I gotta admit the 70-210MM for 30-40 sounds very appealing, but does it outperform the DA 50-200 as DA is newer and they shifts around 70 which my budget can tolerate for an AF lens, hence my current inclination towards DA.
I generally try to shoot in manual or one of the program modes so I'm not afraid of little fiddle.

The lens I have now is DA-L and it's nice, when I actually learn to use the camera . But as DA sells close to DA-L then I prefer the DA, as they are WR and knowing some people around me, it's a good feature to have.
Pentax K-5 and co.


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 01:26
What I said about the 50-200 also goes for the Tokina of course, re speed. If you can get it that cheap, give it a whirl. In fact if you want a slightly scuffed Pentax A 80-200 zoom I can sell you one for 15quid. But the 75-150 has that extra bit of speed and quality wide open. The metering issues are in stop down mode and shouldn't affect wide open shooting (I think?)


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 06:49
Aleks when you say speed are you refering to apeture( f number)or focus speed? Focus speed is also depedant on camera body not just lens and light conditions Dan


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 12:18
Hey, by speed I was referring to the aperture value. The 80-200 sounds interesting, I'm just gonna wait til Dannyh responds if he still has his DA 50-200 he has up for grabs.

One more question: should I get a filter or not for the lens to protect it? As by reading around forums ten cheap filters are not so good for the IQ, currently I have my lens hooded but it doesn't look too protected IMO.


PS: Thanks for all your help guys
Pentax K-5 and co.


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 12:46
Aleks ive found that with always using the hood I didnt need the filters Im afraid I have a buyer but in unlikely event of it falling thru i'll PM you


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 12:50
cheap filters will definitely degrade the quality of the image, if your worried about protection why not simply replace the lens cap after shooting.
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Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 13:19
Not wishing to put the feline amongst the feathered things - but - rather than buying 2 or 3 lenses that may prove less than satisfying - have you considered blowing your entire budget on one decent lens that covers the range?

I would strongly recommend the highly regarded DA 55-300mm ED - you can pick up the L version for 159 new and less for a good used one

Just a thought

No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more
Last Edited by fritzthedog on 22/02/2012 - 13:20


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 13:29
Also meant to say - if you want an old manual 50mm to try - you do not need to limit yourself to Pentax - the Chinon and Ricoh/ Rikenon lenses (amongst others) are about on par with the Pentax M 50 and much cheaper.

In fact - I am certain I have 4 or 5 in a box somewhere in the loft - they will not be perfect cosmetically but will work fine. If it helps you get started - happy to send you one for the cost of postage - probably be about 2-3. In fact probably have half a dozen or more old manual zooms up there too - again these will not be perfect or valuable but same offer applies - yours for the cost of postage

Let me know if interested

No matter how many lenses I have owned - I have always needed just one more


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 16:53
hey, the idea of 55-300 or other more expensive lenses has gone through my head quite a few times, however I'm not sure if I want to invest into such a long range zoom or expensive lenses when I don't even know how to properly use them and risk damaging them with my inexperience. As well, perhaps there are better deals available from the legacy lenses than the new ones.

The thing with lens cap, is that I know I will lose it rather quickly so I think, I will stick with the hood for a time being to see whats happening. Besides I think that the new fully automatic no problems lenses will make me lazy.

In fact - I am certain I have 4 or 5 in a box somewhere in the loft - they will not be perfect cosmetically but will work fine. If it helps you get started - happy to send you one for the cost of postage - probably be about 2-3. In fact probably have half a dozen or more old manual zooms up there too - again these will not be perfect or valuable but same offer applies - yours for the cost of postage

This sounds like a great idea, as this would make me explore the camera further and make a great starter kit for me to understand what is needed from a lens and what should be avoided. I think it will be only fair if I still pay something on top as it is an effort from your side. Can you PM me, so that we could talk further?

Pentax K-5 and co.


Link Posted 22/02/2012 - 21:34
Hello and welcome Aleks

I have a few old manual jobbies myself - I find people either love them or hate them - but like marmite

I picked up an old M42 Tokina RMC 300mm f5.5 for about 16 on evil bay a year or so ago and I love it but I do like primes over zooms but that is just my preference but it shows what can be had for a few quid sometimes

Carl's offer seems like a good one

I have seen some great shots from not great lenses as well as some awful shots from great lenses - proof that practice is key with any lens

The 55 to 300 mm may well prove to be a cracking option though
K10D, K5 plus plenty of clueless enthusiasm.

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